• Mats Berger, Director |
5 min read

It was my first day in my new job at KPMG, and I was bursting with excitement. I was mentally prepared for the challenge of learning the ins and outs of this big company, but even after all the great introductory sessions during my onboarding, I still had so many questions: What is IBS (other than irritable bowel syndrome)? Who do I ask about QRM? What does that term even mean? How do I get a decent headset?

Not all these questions were urgent, some were just born from a natural curiosity, but I needed answers in order to jump into my new role and start proving myself.

Fortunately, my people manager, Trine, had worked in KPMG for several years and had many of the answers. However, not everyone has a Trine, and knowing from previous experience, the second you don’t, it can quickly become a negative experience as an employee.

Now that I have years of experience from what works and what doesn't from personal experience as well as a vast amount of clients, I thought I’d share the three key ingredients that ensure you give your employees a poor experience, and decrease the value out of their time or energy. 

Ingredient 1) Build and maintain silos rather than bridges:

Most organisations have already started the journey of adopting a service mindset towards their employees from their supporting functions such as IT, HR, Finance, Legal etc.

The best way to waste all of that hard work and money is to ensure that each of these services are independent of each other. Not just in the tools that must be used, but also in the processes themselves.  

That way, no one knows where, or how, to find or initiate requests for your services. Instead, they will bounce around the organisation like a ping pong ball until they eventually find their answer.

A classic example is that instead of having one integrated service and one point of interaction for onboarding an employee, you can have your hiring manager contact HR through the Workday application, Facilities over e-mail and IT over ServiceNow for different aspects of what is needed for their employee’s first day. 

Ingredient 2) Design for the likeminded:

Our second effective and poisoned ingredient is to design and describe your services in a way that only the likeminded would understand. A great way to do this is to describe your services using jargon – terminology that does not resonate with people outside of a function or organisation.

This means that even though your target audience might have arrived at the right place to read about, or request, a service, those of us who - unlike Trine - have not been several years in the same organisation are left perplexed as to what the purpose, or solution, of a service might be.

This jargon is often focused on what makes sense to the person who owns the service, rather than what resonates with the consumer. It can also be industry or business specific terminology that does not make sense to people outside of the organisation.

To me, a clear example of this was in a previous job where we needed to have a glossary of terms and acronyms at the back of our Service Catalogue to help people navigate through all the words which could only be learnt over time. This is analogous to a consumer world, where we would need to Google the product names in a separate window when scrolling through Amazon, in order to understand what we are actually buying! 

Ingredient 3) Don’t automate or optimise the process:

“The process works so why change it?” “Sure…maybe things could run a bit faster or smoother, but it’s not worth the effort.” I’m sure you have heard these statements before…. or perhaps even thought them yourself? If so, then you have exactly the right mindset in place to make ingredient 3 especially powerful.

There are two common scenarios where I have seen this 1) the process is oversimplified and there is no appetite to improve it despite clear inefficiency, or 2) It is overcomplicated to the point it intimidates people from wanting to address how it could be done better.

The most prevalent oversimplification are processes such as go find Lars in Finance or send Sarah in HR a mail.  They are often dependent on individuals, have no real traceability and are almost impossible to report on. Instead, they generally leave the requestor sitting and wondering, hoping that Lars won’t forget to correct that payslip, or that Sarah won’t lose their important e-mail in the pile of other requests.

On the other hand, overcomplication can be even worse. We have all seen these situations where someone has tried to boil the ocean and created a complex process that mandates the provision of every possible piece of information to submit a form. These types of processes can be intimidating to refine and why bother when you are saving money by scaring away all of your colleagues from making requests?

The result:

When you add these three ingredients together, you are left with a concoction that will kill any possibility of a good experience. The result is that the consumers of the service (not just your employees, but also your customers, suppliers & partners) cannot self-serve and find the answers and solutions they need. And even when they do, they are often left wondering if it will even happen and if their request will be solved. 

The result is a drop in productivity, a feeling of frustration and often even a drop in job satisfaction. Employees will self-treat issues by no longer seeking or using the complicated paths that are drawn for them. Instead they will either give up or take shortcuts that can result in substantial costs for your business.

In the next blog post we will look at how to rework this recipe we’ve been through today and share with you, how we help our clients (and ourselves) design and build amazing employee experiences with Enterprise Service Management on ServiceNow. However, if you feel like these ingredients are recognisable to you…you don’t have to wait for the answers, reach out today and let’s look at how we can intervene before it’s too late.

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